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Coming to downtown Tacoma – Cafe Vincero, an Italian restaurant

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on June 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm | No Comments »
June 3, 2013 2:53 pm

An Italian restaurant plans to open in downtown Tacoma. Cafe Vincero will operate at 714 Pacific Avenue on a block that is home to Matador, Meconi’s and the Orange Door Vietnamese restaurant.

Owner Kevin Cornwell is working on the 49-seat restaurant with his father, Ed Banks, and childhood friend Scott Raketty, who will act as a consulting chef. Cornwell said after Cafe Vincero opens, he intends to hire a kitchen staff to execute Raketty’s recipes. Raketty has worked as a chef for resorts and cruise ships. and most recently has worked as a chef in Seattle. The duo met when they were teenagers in the 1980s while washing dishes at Vince’s in Federal Way, where Cornwell and Raketty grew up. This will be Cornwell’s first restaurant.

Cornwell said he’s not sure of the opening date for Cafe Vincero, but is hoping to open the doors in June. Construction is underway now. Cornwell has installed new flooring, and ahead of him is the installation of kitchen equipment in the space that formerly housed a furniture store. Cornwell described the decor as contemporary Tuscan.

Cornwell said he plans a restaurant that will serve coffee in the morning followed by lunch and dinner service. The restaurant won’t serve alcohol. Rather, Cornwell said the restaurant hopes to cater to diners before or after they head to a downtown nightclub or bar. On weekends, Cornwell said he intends to stay open into the early morning, making the restaurant one of few late-night dining options in that part of town. “There’s no place to go after people are done drinking. They might go to the hookah lounge above me, but my place and that place are the only ones to go,” said Cornwell. During the daytime, he said he hopes to appeal to downtown office employees with lunch specials and moderate prices.

The menu will center mostly on pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and calzones. He expects menu prices to float around $9-$12 for a la carte pizzas and pasta entrees. He’ll round out the menu with a few broiled steaks at a higher price.

Here’s something curious – Cornwell is installing a wood-fired pizza oven (he just ordered it – a Marra Forni). With the opening of Paesan, and with downtown already home to The Rock Wood Fired pizza, that will make three wood-fired pizza restaurants in a relatively small area. Head up the hill to Sixth Avenue and there are two more restaurants with a wood-fired pizza oven – Primo Grill and Farrelli’s.

Cafe Vincero
Where: 714 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
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